Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Adventure Playgrounds, Playwork, and TV Appearances

Today is a very exciting day. My friends Erin Davis of Play Free Movie, and Rusty Keeler of Earth Play are going to be on Katie Couric, and it will be broadcasted on TV across the USA.

This programme was filmed while I was on tour in the US so I bet editing was completed ages ago. Being in the UK I'm not able to watch the show on TV, but I managed to get myself a little preview by poking around the internet - and it was great! I'm so pleased with Erin and Rusty for representing the play world well, and for talking up playwork to the folks in the US who may not previously heard of it.

Remember a while back, when I went to visit The Land in Wrexham with a reporter called Hanna Rosin? Well, she ended up writing a really good piece called "The Overprotected Kid" for Atlantic Magazine which featured The Land, one of my favourite adventure playgrounds, pretty heavily. This piece exploded with interest across the internet, conveniently when we were touring and popping all over the US, and before long Erin and Rusty were contacted to appear on Katie Couric.

Photo courtesy of Peter Yang for the Atlantic.

Erin who is, as we speak, putting together a documentary on The Land, met Morgan at a Pop-Up Adventure Playground a few years ago, where she was introduced to playwork. Because we knew her well, we asked her to be one of our special guests on our US tour. Rusty came across playwork when he went for a visit to some adventure playgrounds in Europe, and along with training from Pop-Up, now helps to run The Anarchy Zone (which I visited on my own once, and as part of the US tour) in Ithaca as a playworker. I'm so pleased to have been part of their playwork journeys up until now, and hope to continue this relationship above and beyond their TV appearance today!

With all those things in mind, I'm excited to say that the profile of play and playwork seems to be increasing in the US. There may be some basic misunderstandings (play isn't just a trend, it's a necessity for children) but above all, people are asking more questions and looking to us peeps at Pop-Up Adventure Play for answers. It feels very exciting to be part of this, and to also be studying it as part of my PhD in Playwork. I really hope that interest in play continues, but not just as a topic of conversation, but implemented as part of daily life! While it's very cool that play currently has media attention, it's very important for us play advocates to take advantage of this interest and reach out to as many people as we can.

The line in the Atlantic piece that sticks with me is this:
"We can no more create the perfect environment for our children than we can create perfect children." - Hanna Rosin
I'm here, as a playworker, to give children the opportunity to play in a world full of adult agendas. I hope that this piece of writing, and Erin and Rusty's appearance on TV today will encourage more people to do the same. Hoorah for play in all countries!

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